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Mortazavi, aka Ghaazi Mortazavi, Tehran’s Genral Prosecutor and the former special judge for the press court, is in Geneva to participate in UN’s Human Rights Council. He’s the alleged responsible authority for the death of Zahra Kazemi. He’s responsible for closing down hundreds of press, arresting tens of journalists and several other violations of human rights in Iran.

Now what exactly is he doing in Geneva? What kind of “human rights council” is this that accepts a person like Mortazavi? Why Switzerland has issued him a visa? I really don’t get it. Is there anything I’m missing here?

It’s shameful, outrageous… (I don’t know what other word I should put here.)

*Also read this by Arash Kamangir: Human Rights, Offender or Supporter?

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**I’ve added updates to the end of this post.
(Last Updated: 5:26 a.m, June 14, 2006)**

Iranian Women's Demonstration: June12,2006

Women participating in the demonstration were beaten and arrested an hour ago. I just read in this blog and this one that the demonstration was brutally suppressed without even being started.

This blog says that Jila Bani Yaghoub, an Iranian prominent journalist was handcuffed and arrested.

I have no news about my friends. I should go to school now. I’ll try to update more as soon as I get any news. Damn it…

*Update 1: One of my friends who was in an office near Hafte Tir square told me in yahoo messenger that there were a lot of policewomen with teargas. They had also red sprays to put on women, so that they would be recognized in case of escaping. She also said that the event was badly organized and not a single location in the big square was selected from before. So people were scattered in different parts of the square. She said some people were taken to jail and some people were taken to hospitals.

* Update 2: Pain, pain, pain, disgust, violence, cruelty, barbarity, fundamentalism…

Nobody knows exactly how many people are arrested. Some are disappeared, some have voluntarily disappeared; no accurate news. My friends’ bodies ache because of being beaten up, but their hearts ache more. Their hearts ache, but their eyes shine…

I have nothing more to update. Many blogs have written various narratives that have similar meanings. Take a look at the pictures by the brave Iranian photographer Arash Ahoorinia, my dear friend whom I’m proud of being his friend. Look at the picture he has taken from the brutality and violence against men and women today. Look at the pictures, a picture speaks a thousand words…

*Update 3: Read more in English here (written by Iranian women):
+ Women’s peaceful demonstration in Tehran was violently suppressed
+ Stop Police Violence
+ Report of Women’s Rights Gathering in Tehran on June 12th 2006
+ Does anybody care what passes in my country?
+ They Need Our Help!

*Update 4: Azadeh Pourzand is translating some excerpts from Iranian blogs:
+ Women’s Voice is Close!
+ Update
+ On Women’s Demonstration

Iranian Women's Demonstration: June12,2006

Iranian Women's Demonstration: June12,2006

Iranian Women's Demonstration: June12,2006

Iranian Women's Demonstration: June12,2006

Iranian Women's Demonstration: June12,2006

Iranian Women's Demonstration: June12,2006

Iranian Women's Demonstration: June12,2006

Iranian Women's Demonstration: June12,2006

Iranian Women's Demonstration: June12,2006

Iranian Women's Demonstration: June12,2006

More pictures here…

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The hell with football. I just got an email from one of the organizers of women’s demonstration on June 12 that she has been summoned by the intelligence authorities and she was asking us not to contact her. I read in the comment section of some Persian blogs that another activist is also summoned.

No weblog has written about it, and Herland, the organizing magazine of the demonstration, has not written anything about it either. This is not good. Transparency and spreading the word are the most important factors in such moves. Organizers of the demonstration are being threatened by the authorities. Public should know about it; first to become aware of the probable dangers awaiting them; and second, to publicize it as much as possible to get the attention of the media and the international community.

Silence is the worst thing when people become threatened or arrested by the authorities. The authorities like this silence and they usually intimidate the people they have threatened or arrested not to publicize it. Ganji wasn’t killed because media was following up his story. Sina Motallebi and other bloggers were released because the international community and the media were covering their news, and some lobbying with more moderated members of the government took place. If these people are summoned by the intelligence authorities, people should be informed about it.

I have no role in tomorrow’s demonstration. The women’s website I worked for has stopped working since a few months ago so I have no role in updating any news or photos about the demonstrations. We had some serious conflicts with the organizers of the demonstration. But I supported them and I sent lots of emails to different organizations and individuals, including Amnesty, to get their support. No matter what I think about this women’s group, they are organizing a protest for women’s rights in Iran, so I support them. But I wish they would open up their campaign, take the advice of people who have some experience in media or online campaigns, and would welcome the support of people who don’t necessarily think like them.

I wish I could tell them that they should have publicized the intelligence authorities’ threat. I wish I could tell them that they should all erase the hard of their computers, save some new files on their hard so that their previous information will not be retrieved. They should disable their blogs’ archives and erase their blogrolls. When Sina was arrested, they interrogated him about any single hyperlink he put in his blog. They asked him why he linked to site X or Y or why linked to blog X or Y. They asked him whether he had any illicit relationship with the female bloggers he has linked to. They took his computer with them and interrogated him about any single file in his computer. I hope the people who are summoned to the intelligence (and might probably, god forbids, get arrested) will take these security issues into matter.

They should assign some trusted people who live outside Iran to keep the track of their probable arrest. They should instruct them what to do if they get arrested. I just cross my fingers and hope that they know all this and they have prepared themselves and have organized a group to follow up the probable arrests. Also, I hope they will instruct the people who will participate tomorrow how to react if they will be beaten or arrested.

Herland published a piece yesterday which included some good instructions such as not chanting any slogans and not obstructing the traffic on Hafte Tir Square (the location of the demonstration.) They have insisted that people should not make any drastic move and they should be very peaceful. March 8 sitting was also peaceful but women were brutally beaten. So, I hope people will be ready for the same thing tomorrow no matter how peaceful their sitting will be.

Also, I hope they will have a journalist sitting at home at her computer, ready to cover the news live by getting the news through phone from other journalists attending the demonstration. A women’s website did it last year and it was quite effective.

Silence is the worst thing in these situations…

* Update: OK, I feel better now. One of the people I contacted gave me a contact info to contact and ask what to do in case something happens for them. I hope nothing bad happens and I update here with good news of the big turn out of the demonstration.

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Nice opening game with 6 goals! And Germany’s last goal was a blast! Seems like an exciting World Cup. More importantly, I’m happy that I can finally watch some football* games in US! We have basic cable and I can rarely watch good football matches on TV here (sometimes a Spanish channel shows football, but it’s hard to follow up). Fortunately, basic cable channels show all the world cup matches (ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC).

I have uploaded the World Cup schedule, including TV channels that show it in US, here.

* I never get used to the word “soccer” for what I’ve always called football! In Iran people call the game called football in US as “American Football,” so, I’ll use the same words I’m used to.

P.S. I just found out that Fernando Morientes, the handsome Spanish player, is not in this world cup. What a pity! Last world cup was such a pleasure to watch due to all its handsome players. I hope this year there will be more of them! After all football is about visual pleasure!!

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Iranian Women's Demonstration - June12, 2006

Last year on June 12 Iranian women activists had a demonstration in Tehran protesting the discrimination against women in the Iranian constitution. It was organized by several women groups from Tehran and other cities and turned out to be a turning point in Iranian women’s movement.

You can read the declaration signed by people who attended that gathering here:
http://iftribune.com/news.asp?id=14&pass=21

Here are some pictures of that gathering:
http://www.kosoof.com/archive/2005/Jun/13/272.php
http://www.kosoof.com/archive/2005/Jun/12/271.php
http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=194486
http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=194493

This year women are gathering again on the anniversary of June12 and they are looking for the support of International women’s organizations, media, activists, and academics:
http://herlandmag.com/news/06,06,07,12,33,14/

Things look worse now under the new government .The past 8 March demonstration was very violent and women were brutally attacked. You can read about it here:
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/03/09/iran12832.htm

The recent student protests have ended in the disappearance of some students… My friends need the international support for feeling safer. They are announcing the demonstration now in order to avoid giving much time to the police and security to crack down on people before the action. We are asking the support signatures of feminist organizations and individuals around the world. (In case of individuals, well known activists and academics.)

Could you kindly ask the women’s organizations you know to sign our petition?

You can sign the petition here:
http://herlandmag.com/news/06,06,07,12,33,14/

Or, you can simply send an email to me or info@herlandmag.com (Herland is the e-zine of a feminist grassroots in Iran that is organizing the event.)

Any coverage in the media would be also valuable.

Thank you so much!

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Summer semester turned out to be even more difficult than the previous semesters. I’m doing very badly in the two undergrad courses I’ve taken this semester. My grades in reporting class have been “E” so far (well, practically they’re F!). I don’t understand shit about statistics. Our statistics teacher is really bad and I was thinking that our math teachers at high school in Tehran were even better! It seems the chain of “A” grades is finally broken. Well, good for me not to become too proud of my “A” grades.

I don’t have much time for blogging. Our project should be launched in a month and I’m a bit behind the schedules. I wrote a long piece about Mana Neyestani, the Iranian cartoonist who is in jail, but I didn’t put it here because the post needed careful revision due to the sensitive nature of the incident and I didn’t find a time to revise it. I just hope Mana and his editor will be released soon. It’s insane that they detain the cartoonists and journalists while the editor-in-chief of a paper should be hold accountable for what gets published in that paper. (And honestly I don’t believe there was anything wrong with that cartoon and the text accompanying it anyway to hold anybody accountable, while I do believe that it was a bad article; not suitable for children.)

I have too much to talk about, but I should go back to my work now (writing a report on a hot rod tour!). Sorry if you come here and see nothing new. Hopefully next week I’ll find some time to write more.

Meanwhile, if you want to get an Iranian blogger’s perspective on the current events in Iran, check out Arash’s blog. I’m amazed by his accurate, concise, and timely coverage of the current events in Iran. Good job Arash!

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